Higgins looks back at glittering career

Double world champion John Higgins has been chatting about his career, the effects of alcohol and of course his World Series this week. Click below to read what he has to say…

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On winning:

“There is nothing better than the feeling of winning a title and standing with a trophy at the end of a tournament,” he said.

“I had begun to wonder if I would ever win again. Having a bad run can be hard and it gets tougher the older you get.

“I still have the hunger for competitions, but it is the practice which is difficult and that’s what you need to do to win.”

On how he started playing:

“I started playing snooker when I was 10 years old. My dad took my brother and I along to play twice a week at a local club.

“Personally, I think it was his excuse to get out the house, but we started to enjoy it and we would go three or four times a week.

“It was a strain financially, though, and there came a time when my parents couldn’t afford to keep up.

“So, when I was about 13, my dad asked the manager if I could help out in return for free table time. So that’s what I did during my holidays.”

On when he first thought that he might have a future in snooker:

“When I was 15, I played at a world under 16 tournament in Birmingham,” he said. “My practice partner at the time was Alan McManus and Stephen Hendry bet him that Ronnie O’Sullivan would win. Alan said he reckoned I would win and that’s what happened.

“Until then, I had thought I was a decent player, but I didn’t really stand out from the crowd.

“Then I was taken on by Ian Doyle, who was Stephen Hendry’s manager at the time, and started playing practice matches with Stephen.

“You couldn’t ask for a better practice partner and that’s when I started to think I might have a future in snooker.

“My mum wanted me to stay on at school, but my dad said you only get one chance at these things so you need to take them.

“And even though it all turned out fine, my mum still gets on at me about finishing my education.”

On his first big pay cheque:

“To an 18-year-old, it may as well have been a million. I just wanted to enjoy it. I went on to became the first teenager to win three ranked events and that’s quite an achievement when you realise that people like Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White never did that.”

On becoming world number one:

“It was a dream come true,” he said. “It was such a big thing for me to take over from one of my heroes.”

On the World Series:

“It all came about because we were talking about the places where we play tournaments these days, places such as Telford, Aberdeen and Newport.

“We realised we no longer played the kind of places or the amount of tournaments that we used to play.

“So we came up with the idea of trying to take snooker to other countries, especially those where we know it is watched by millions on TV channel Eurosport.

“The idea is that there will be four legs in which professionals play alongside wild cards from the country where the leg is hosted and then a final.

“This is only the first year, but we are holding the final in the Kremlin, Moscow, next March, which will be amazing.

“Being involved is also a real insight for me to see what goes into putting on events such as this.

“When we were in Berlin, more than 6000 people came to see us and I was even cutting carpets to make sure everything was ready in time.

“The people seem really pleased to see you in person and always ask for autographs really nicely.

“It is great in Glasgow that we don’t get anything like the attention that footballers get. But, on the other hand, people can be so used to seeing you around it can be a bit like, ‘Here, sign that and make it quick I’m running for my bus.’ “In Europe, they are really polite and I think when I retire from snooker I would like to get more involved with staging tournaments.”

On the incident in 2006 when he had to be removed from a plane due to having had a bit too much to drink:

“I think maybe a bit too much was made of all that,” said John.

“I did give up drink for a while, but, you know, I reckon that everyone needs a release.

“I do have the odd drink now and then, I just don’t go mad any more because I just have too much to do these days.”